holmescunningham2 052120Legislation addresses federal unemployment aid, employee safety, benefits

SPRINGFIELD — To protect essential workers and incentivize employers to provide the best protective measures possible in the workplace during the pandemic, State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) led the effort to pass a comprehensive labor and workers’ compensation plan out of the Illinois Senate Thursday.

“This is an agreement between business and labor that ensures better protections for employees and clear, consistent guidelines to ensure employers know how to operate safely,” Holmes said. “I’m grateful for the spirit of cooperation that allowed us to work quickly and decisively to pass this plan.”

House Bill 2455, sponsored by Holmes, ensures Illinois continues to qualify for federal relief packages by extending unemployment benefits, waiving the one-week unemployment insurance waiting period, and expanding eligibility for unemployment to non-instructional education employees, such as lunch workers and teachers’ aides. Employers would also not be charged for unemployment benefits paid to those out of work due to COVID-19 for benefits issued between March 15, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020.

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dentist C19 051320Aurora, Ill. – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is pleased to learn the Illinois Department of Public Health has updated its guidance on allowing dental providers to resume routine oral and dental care beginning this week.

“IDPH’s decision lifts the limit to emergency and urgent needs to now let dentists resume routine oral and dental care, with the specific procedures to be taken to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in this setting,” Holmes said. “Area dentists contacted me about this issue and I’m glad we made this progress.”

IDPH says to yield good procedural outcomes, oral health providers should consider their patient's health care needs, assess the risks and benefits of any procedures, and appropriately screen patients for COVID-19. Patients will need to be symptom free and have their temperature taken. Dentists will need to address their use of masks, face guards, and suction devices.

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aurora drivethrough 042220Aurora, Ill. – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) reports that a new Community-Based Testing Site will open in Aurora this week to help test Illinoisans for COVID-19. The sites are open seven days a week to test individuals with COVID-19 symptoms.

“Right now it seems the greatest hurdle to making progress with the coronavirus is the need for much more testing,” Holmes said. “If the health department doesn’t know who is infected, those who are will continue to unknowingly spread it to others, and this will be an even longer ordeal. More testing will help us end this pandemic sooner.”

Testing will take place seven days a week at Aurora Premium Outlets from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. or while daily supplies last, at 1650 Premium Outlet Boulevard.

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holmes 041020Aurora, Ill. – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is encouraging women who want to restart their education to apply for the annual Conference of Women Legislators’ Scholarship Awards Program.

COWL is a bipartisan, bicameral, nonprofit organization of women legislators in the Illinois General Assembly and has announced the 2020-2021 Annual Scholarship Awards Program. COWL created the scholarship program as part of its mission to promote economic independence, community service and leadership development. 

Leader Holmes says that up to 10 scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded. These college scholarships are aimed at helping women who are earning their college degrees, in some cases, later in life. The scholarship program endeavors to assist Illinois women, 25 years or older, who are seeking to earn undergraduate college degrees.

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